Two biology professors, Matt Beckman and Kevin Potts, were awarded a grant from the Eppley Foundation for Scientific Research to study the effects of environmental factors on the behavior and life histories of the water flea, Daphnia. The grant will allow the two to carry out field collection and laboratory studies of daphnids collected from lakes in Minneapolis this summer. Working with Augsburg students, the two will study how these important indicators of lake and pond water quality respond to changes in their environment. The long-range goal of this work is to develop a simple tool that uses water flea behavioral measurements as a proxy for changing water conditions. Beckman says that this work will provide students who work on the project with a unique opportunity to carry out field studies as well as laboratory investigations.
Dr. Kevin Potts, a faculty member in the Biology department, received a $9,315 grant from the LSB Leakey Foundation to support his research investigating the nutritional content of foods eaten by chimpanzees in Kibale National Park in southwestern Uganda. The goal of this research is to clarify the extent to which the nutritional quality of resources influences the population density and distribution of wild chimpanzees. This information will be applied to conservation initiatives focused on maintaining viable populations of this endangered species in a critical part of its geographic range. Dr. Potts has studied the population of chimpanzees in Kibale since 2002, and this grant will allow him to continue this work, which involves direct observation of wild chimpanzee feeding behavior combined with lab analysis of plant nutrient content. Dr. Potts will travel to Uganda this summer to conduct fieldwork in Kibale National Park and, in conjunction with Ugandan collaborators, will initiate a long-term plant sampling protocol during that time.
This is the second time Dr. Potts has received funding from the Leakey Foundation, which supports research on primate behavior and ecology, as well as paleoanthropology and human evolution. If you are interested in learning more about his work, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.